Business Standard

Michel to be grilled by CBI

IANS  |  New Delhi 

British national Christian Michel James, wanted in the Rs 3,600 crore VVIP chopper deal case who was extradited to on Tuesday night, has been questioned for a few hours and his interrogation will be intensified now as the court has placed him under custody for five days.

A senior (CBI) official, related to the probe, told IANS, "James was not questioned on Tuesday night after his arrival from the (UAE) to " After he was brought to the agency's headquarters late in the night after being extradited from Dubai, Michel complained of "tiredness", he said.

A local court on Wednesday remanded Michel to five days CBI custody. He was extradited to after the in UAE had on November 19 upheld a lower court order which said that James could be extradited.

Asked about reports that Michel was non-cooperative and showing an aggressive behaviour during questioning, the replied: "There is no chance of aggressiveness or non-cooperation from Michel on Tuesday night and on Wednesday noon as he has not been intensively questioned by us."

"We only had an interactive session," he said, adding, "what he says will be analysed during these five days of the police custody that we have got from the court."

The also claimed that the agency has enough evidence against Michel and he would be confronted with the other accused.

He also said that money amounting to 37 million Euros (approximately Rs 300 crore) was transferred to two based in "We want to know where and to whom the money went from here," he said.

Michel woke up around 7 a.m. on Wednesday and had fruits for breakfast while he was served Indian for lunch which he accepted without any complaint.

Michel is one of the three accused being probed in the case by the CBI and the (ED) in connection with the VVIP chopper scam.

In January, the ED had lodged a request with the UAE authorities for extraditing James. Both the ED and the CBI had filed chargesheets in bribery cases in Indian courts and non-bailable warrants had been issued against the accused.

Last year, a Red Corner notice was issued against Michel by the on a request by the CBI. RCNs were also issued against two Italians involved in the scam -- and

According to Indian investigative agencies, Michel had received at least Rs 235 crore for ensuring that the chopper contract went to He was a frequent visitor to India, having undertaken 300 trips to this country between 1997 and 2013.

In its chargesheet, the CBI had named former S.P. Tyagi, his cousin Sanjeev Tyagi alias Julie, then IAF and as the four Indians involved in the scam.

The chargesheet mentioned Khaitan as the "brain" behind the deal.

Others named in the chargesheet include Giuseppe Orsi, the former of Italian defence and Finmeccanica, and Bruno Spagnolini, former of AgustaWestland, apart from middlemen James, Haschke and Gerosa.

On January 1, 2014, India cancelled the contract with Finmeccanica's British subsidiary AgustaWestland for supplying 12 AW-101 VVIP choppers to the IAF over alleged breach of contractual obligations and on charges of paying kickbacks amounting to Rs 423 crore.

The CBI, which registered an FIR in the case on March 12, 2013, had alleged that Tyagi and the other accused received kickbacks from AgustaWestland to help it win the contract.

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First Published: Wed, December 05 2018. 19:28 IST